05/24/2024
 4 minutes

Review of the New TAG Heuer Formula 1 | Kith Collection

By Jorg Weppelink
TAG-Heuer-Formula-Kith-1-2-1

Review of the New TAG Heuer Formula 1 | Kith Collection

TAG Heuer surprised watch fans worldwide on the 1st of May by bringing back the illustrious Formula 1 from the 1980s. In a collaborative effort with New York streetwear brand Kith, the Swiss watchmaker reintroduced a cult classic that saved the brand from going under during the quartz crisis. The new limited-edition Formula 1 collection is more than just a hyped release, it’s a nod to history. Let’s find out what makes this watch so special.

Story of the TAG Heuer Formula 1 from 1986

The origin: A 90s TAG Heuer Formula 1
The inspiration: the TAG Heuer Formula 1

During the 1980s, the Heuer brand found itself in a tight spot due to declining sales caused by the quartz revolution. This resulted in Heuer being sold twice, eventually landing in the hands of Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG) in 1985. The new owner renamed the brand TAG Heuer and rolled out a strategy to revive interest by focusing on the creation of more affordable quartz watches.

The first model line that TAG Heuer unveiled was the Formula 1. The success of fellow Swiss brand Swatch inspired the colorful product range. The Formula 1 was the perfect summer watch, as it could be worn with different colored rubber straps. The watches were available in the modest case sizes of 28 and 35 mm, making them a great option for younger fans.

This turned out to be a key factor in the commercial success of the series. From the moment it was introduced, the Formula 1 was everywhere. This line saved the struggling company, and the Formula 1 became one of the major success stories of the eighties. For many young watch fans, the Formula 1 was the first “serious” Swiss watch they owned. This group of enthusiasts went on to become the collectors and luxury watch owners of today.

The New TAG Heuer Formula 1 | Kith Collection

The brand new TAG Heuer Formula 1 | Kith Collection, Image: TAG Heuer

It was these collectors who were most delighted to hear that TAG Heuer was bringing back the Formula 1. TAG Heuer and Kith launched a new collection consisting of ten different models. The watches are inspired by the 1980s Formula 1 models that Kith founder Ronnie Fieg has in his personal watch collection.

Seven of the ten models are Kith exclusives. TAG Heuer exclusively sold two models in the brand’s boutiques, and the most popular model is a shared model that was available at both TAG Heuer and Kith. The crème de la crème is a box set containing all ten watches presented in a special case. It should come as no surprise that all of them sold out in no time.

Image: TAG Heuer

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Kith, it’s a fashion and lifestyle brand that started in New York and now has boutiques worldwide. In collaborating with Fieg, TAG Heuer worked closely with a dedicated Formula 1 collector and tapped into a potential new audience that might have yet to hear of the brand.

All ten watches feature the original TAG Heuer logo from the 1980s, but it says “Kith” where “TAG” usually appears. The models have little text on the dial and case – typical of Kith – and the rubber straps feature large Kith branding, which Kith fans will appreciate.

Image: TAG Heuer

A collaboration inspired by the MoonSwatch?

Collaborating with Kith was a clever choice, as the online hype surrounding the drop was huge. The last time there was this much talk about a watch launch was when the Omega × Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch was introduced. The incredible popularity of the collaboration between Swatch and Omega was unseen in the watch world.

This raises the question of whether TAG Heuer was once again inspired by Swatch, just like they were in the 1980s. We may never know if TAG Heuer was inspired by the MoonSwatch when creating the new Formula 1, but the brand certainly had a great example of how to create hype around a new release. Swatch followed the success of the MoonSwatch with a series of new releases. It will be interesting to see what TAG Heuer does next.

Our Opinion on the TAG Heuer Formula 1 | Kith Collection

I’m pleased with the return of the TAG Heuer Formula 1. It’s an 80s icon, and it’s great to see it make a comeback. I’m sure many a watch fan will love the return of this classic.

There are, however, two main gripes I have with these watches. The first is the $1,500 price tag. Given that the original Formula 1 was designed as an affordable quartz watch, the price of these new models defeats the original purpose. Furthermore, they’re playing with an emotion from the past, and $1,500 is a lot of money to spend on childhood nostalgia. This is especially true when you know you can buy the original watch from the 1980s in good condition for roughly a third of the price.

The second thing is that the original owners of Formula 1 watches don’t care about the collaboration with Kith. Most of them are now in their late forties and fifties, and have different interests than those who see the added value of TAG Heuer teaming up with Ronnie Fieg. This is a marketing tactic more or less targeted at Kith fans, and it was clearly successful. After all, the watches sold out in no time. However, it does raise the question of what exactly TAG Heuer was trying to achieve with this release.

Since this was a limited edition drop of roughly 4,000 watches, it would be great if TAG Heuer followed it up with a series of regular Formula 1 models. That would please everyone who couldn’t get their hands on one of the new releases or didn’t care enough to try to buy one, but still wants a Formula 1 comeback. In any case, the door is wide open to capitalize on the success of the TAG Heuer Formula 1 | Kith collection.


About the Author

Jorg Weppelink

Hi, I'm Jorg, and I've been writing articles for Chrono24 since 2016. However, my relationship with Chrono24 goes back a bit longer, as my love for watches began …

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